Disney released the first official trailer for its live-action “Mulan” during halftime of the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer final, a strong choice for a movie about a woman who would rather fight in an army than learn to be a good wife. Directed by “Whale Rider” helmer Niki Caro, “Mulan” stars
Liu Yifei as the titular heroine, and co-stars Donnie Yen as Mulan’s mentor Commander Tung, Jet Li as the emperor of China, and Gong Li as the film’s villain.
“Mulan,” which Disney famously adapted into an animated movie in 1998, is set in China during the Han dynasty. The titular character is the daughter of the famous warrior Fa Zhou, who she impersonates in order to become a warrior and defend her people against an invasion. Yifei was cast in the title role last November. The actress is beloved in China and was named one of the New Four Dan Actresses in 2009, which honors the country’s most popular and bankable stars.
Caro is best known for her breakout film “Whale Rider,” which told the story of a young Maori girl (Keisha Castle-Hughes) in New Zealand who is chosen to be the next leader of her tribe. Much like Mulan, she must fight against her family’s expectations for women in order to fulfill her destiny. The trailer offers a first glimpse at Caro’s eye for sweeping cinematography, as well as epic battle scenes that are sure to honor the medium.
“Mulan” is said to take license with the original film, offering an updated take on the story rather than a shot for shot remake. Actor and comedian Utkarsh Ambudkar plays a monk in the film, and back in January he praised the film during an interview with IndieWire at the Sundance Film Festival.
“It’s epic. I think personally it’s gonna be the best Disney movie that they’ve made, live-action wise,” Ambudkar said. “It’s a new story. It’s a new take. It’s great for young girls, it’s great for the Asian community, Asian-American community. It’s beautifully done. It’s epic.”
Disney will release “Mulan” in theaters March 27, 2020. Check out the trailer below.